Delivering vaccinations to low-income people has been one of the greatest challenges for public health leaders. Not only are these community members at greater risk of getting COVID, but they’re also less likely than the general population to have either online access to make appointments or the transportation to get to clinic sites.
Starting on April 10, and for at least the three following Saturdays, Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters became the site of a community vaccine clinic for residents of nearby East Palo Alto, Bellhaven, and North Fair Oaks. Teamsters who, as employees of Mosaic, would ordinarily drive Facebook workers from across the Bay Area to headquarters, participated in the clinics by driving buses to shuttle community residents to and from the clinic.
Joseluis Rodriguez joined Teamsters Local 853 in 2015 when he started driving a shuttle bus at Stanford University. He was pleased and proud to participate in the Saturday clinic as a driver. “That’s the least I could do. Facebook took care of us and I wanted to give something back.” During the pandemic, even though its offices were closed and the shuttle and bus services were stopped, Facebook continued to pay the drivers.
“If Mosaic needs me for anything, I try to be one of the first to volunteer. It feels good to do something for the community.” Joseluis says he’s anxious to get back to work. “I’m very grateful that Facebook and Mosaic decided to pay us for all this time. But for me, it’s about time to get back to work and doing something.”
Albert Goodenough, began his career as a Teamster truck driver in the late 1970s and rejoined the Teamsters as a tech bus driver about four years ago. “Even though I live in Stockton, I felt that I should volunteer. I’ve been getting a nice check every two weeks. I don’t mind helping out once in a while. They’ve been good to me.”
Jon Stern, who works for Mosaic as a Field Supervisor at Facebook, said that the company was recruiting 6-8 drivers each Saturday that the clinic is in session. “The original commitment was for three weeks, but now it may be extended through May.”
At this point, the drivers have been told that Facebook will be re-starting the routes in June, but that date is flexible, depending on the course of the virus.
“I’m really proud of the Teamsters for stepping up,” says Local 853 Business Representative Stacy Murphy, who represents these drivers. “That’s what Teamsters do. We give back to the communities we serve.”